Being a farmer's son, I should know how to grow things; you'd think!
Errm.. maybe not!
Well I do know a bit about planting a whole field of barley and potatoes and riding on the back of a tractor and seed drill watching out for the blocked spouts.
I did alot of this growing up in the 70's. My father always put us to work in the fields; nothing like cheap family labour.
Can you imagine that today? Health and Safety would have a fit.
What I never actually did was grow my own vegetables and I've always wanted to. Sam grows a bit of veg in the garden every year; strawberries, courgettes and runner beans. But actually Jack the dog ate most of it last year, so she's sort of given up.
I've always been meaning to have my own veg patch and its one of those things, I've said I'll get round to when I've a bit of free time. At the moment there's quite a bit of that.
So last Sunday I had a go at making a raised bed for vegetables.
In our shed we've got loads of old bits of wood that I've kept over the years. I do hate chucking anything out .
There's literally everything in the shed, including a kitchen sink and that's true! I'll post a picture of it one day.
The other problem I've got is I'm not very good at DIY.
My tools are really basic.
My carpentry skills are even more basic.
I do put our stands up at shows, but to be honest my hand to eye contact for physical jobs is useless.
Trusting me with a hammer and a saw to complete a task unscathed, is like handing the whole job over to Edward my five year old son. But even that's not fair really, because I've watched Edward banging with his plastic toy hammer and work bench and he is very dexterous and coordinated.
But determined to complete my raised bed, I had a go.
My tools consist of :
A hammer, a saw, a tape measure, a screw driver, some old 5 inch nails (a bit rusty) and some screws.
The width of a raised bed should be no more than 4 feet across in width . So you can reach the other side with ease. The length does not matter.
I found two old scaffolding boards (you need something strong enough to contain the soil) and successfully sawed them in half and then each one again to get my rectangle shape. So far so good.
Next I lined up the nails at each end of the two longer boards and half banged them in. I then positioned the shorter four foot boards at right angles to meet the long ones. This was the tricky part , getting the nails to go in straight.
Some did , some didn't. ( Because I can't hit them in straight) Eventually after a few expletives and a sore thumb, I managed to bang them all in.
I then strengthened each corner by screwing some two by one wood in, and sawed off the ends. I strengthened the middle with three wooden battens and stretched a membrane over the whole thing to drain water and stop weeds coming through and tacked it down. Edward helped at this point with his plastic hammer.
Sam then helped me turn the whole thing upside down.
I really was expecting the whole thing to fall apart , but it didn't!
We carried it to the garden and found a nice sunny spot for it.
We put some compost in the bottom, but the soil leaked out the sides a little bit, so I cut some extra bits of old wood flooring and screwed those to each of the boards on the outside.
This ensured there were no more soil leaks, hopefully.
We still need to finish off the bed with some more top soil.
And that's it!
Basically ... it's ready to go !
I mean if I can do this, honestly anybody can.
They always say on tele: Don't try this at home!
But actually do!
If you have a small garden, you can certainly make a small raised bed.
It's not that hard and really quite rewarding when you've done it.
This was the bit that put me off growing veg in the first place.
I'm rather proud of it. At least its stayed together ... so far!
Now comes the hard bit.
My 'farmboy ' skills at growing the veg.
Stay tuned, as I'll be following up with how I get on with planting soon and you can all please tell me what I'm doing wrong.